Home Travel He Stored His Carry-On In A Bin Rows Ahead Of His Seat. It Didn’t End Well

He Stored His Carry-On In A Bin Rows Ahead Of His Seat. It Didn’t End Well

by SharonKurheg

We’ve all seen people do it. They have a seat far in the back of the plane, but store their 22x14x9 inch carry-on bag in an overhead compartment as close to the front of the plane as possible. I even used to have a Facebook friend (someone I used to work with) who thought he was so clever for doing this.

I always figure most of the people who leave their carry on bags rows ahead of their seats don’t want the inconvenience of having to carry their bag to row 37 or wherever they’re sitting. I also personally think doing it is kind of selfish. It eventually means that for whoever is in the row Mx. Back Of The Plane’s extra bag is, there’s a decent chance there won’t be enough room for all of their own stuff and they’ll most likely have to look for space behind them (which makes for all kinds of fun when people are disembarking).

A Reddit user named Funkyyfish brought up that very topic the other day, in one of the website’s subreddits (read: subcategories) called “/mildlyinfuriating.” Here’s what he wrote:

Guy took my Carry-on bag thinking it was his… he pried it open, broke the locks, and brought it back to Delta like this the next day with no note or anything.

He included 2 photos:

The guy admittedly didn’t sound as if he was one of “those” people. He explained that his seat was in the very back of the plane but he was in Main Cabin 2 (10th group to board out of 12 – heck, he’s lucky there was still room in the overhead at ALL), there was no room over or near his own seat, so he had to put his bag a bin 3/4 of the way back.

Funkyyfish said he noticed the guy at the gate had the same bag as him. He said, “…and the thought crossed my mind – ‘hey this dude could accidentally grab your bag’ but again I have a band on the handle and a lock. So when we deboarded my bag wasn’t there but his was… I chased after but he was gone. Went straight to baggage claim and turned his in.

“You would think the bag looking different (his had a stickers and multiple checked bag tags from previous flights) and the whole lock code not working would have been obvious indicators.”

Funkyyfish’s complaint was that the guy broke the lock, rummaged through his stuff, and then didn’t have the decency to even leave a note when he returned the bag to the airline the next day. He was also unhappy that Delta claimed they couldn’t help him (“Sorry sir, this isn’t a Delta issue; this is between you and the passenger”). So he was stuck with a ruined bag.

The 500+ replies to the post generally went in one of two directions:

  • trying to psychoanalyze the guy who took the wrong bag, broke the lock, rummaged through the stuff and brought it back to Delta
  • all the different ways to “mark” a bag so it’s obvious “not yours” (he really should have one of these on his bag – NO ONE would take it then. But of the suggestions, my favorite was to get something that says “NOT YOUR BAG.” 😉

Granted, Funkyyfish’s reasoning for storing his bag “not above his seat” doesn’t appear to be self-serving; his was one of the latter groups called and he said the only space he could find was 15 rows ahead of his seat. Either way, it’s a really good example of why, if you CAN have your bags in the overhead directly in front of you, you should. Besides not potentially not leaving room for the people in front of you, you run the risk of someone taking your bag, either on purpose or not, simply because you can’t see it.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Boraxo August 25, 2022 - 7:39 pm

Good reason to always ensure your bag is behind you, even if you have to swim upstream to retrieve it.

A more interesting question: how many would remove a bag above your seat (to make room in a full bin) if the bag belongs to a passenger who is many rows behind you? Tempting for sure.

david August 25, 2022 - 9:44 pm

Delta would of course never give the details of that other passenger. Amex doesn’t cover damage done by other passengers as far as I know. That’s why I would hold on to the other person’s bag and only return it in exchange for my own.

Beachmouse August 25, 2022 - 11:47 pm

I’ve had any number of flights where the FAs have been telling passengers in later boarding groups to just put their carry-ons in the first open bin space they see as they board in order to try to speed things up and get the flight off on time.

jsn55 August 30, 2022 - 5:39 pm

Yes, I’ve noticed this on my last two flights. The message is loud and clear: the airline’s priority of an on-time departure far outweighs the value of any pax’ valuables. Sums it up pretty good, huh? Much easier to do it this way than have the gate people call a ‘special officer’ to tell the pax their bag needs to be gate-checked. In today’s climate of airport hostility, I can’t blame the GAs for not wanting to be attacked by the pax. Let a professional take the heat from irate pax.

John August 26, 2022 - 6:38 am

I haven’t flown Delta in a while, but having that many boarding groups seems ripe for some sort of Onion parody.

Passenger gloats about being in group 97 instead of 115, gets to squeeze into middle seat two minutes sooner than others.

Brands August 26, 2022 - 10:03 am

We were flying back on a United flight from Maui, and we were sitting in the Economy plus section, so we boarded fairly early. I placed my backpack in the overhead storage(I had no roller bag, and I dont like to place anything under my legs because I am a larger guy, about 6’3″ and 250). My backpack had a souvenir photo from a dinner cruise that we had bought, so I had packed it very carefully, and was very careful not to smash my backpack while we were traveling. Anyway, some jerk family (husband and wife in their 40s, and teenage son) were sitting about 3 rows behind us, and I overheard him saying there was no room to store his bag above his seat, so he was placing his large backpack overhead by our seats. He wasnt talking to us or asking us for permission, I think he was speaking to his wife. I didn’t think anything of it, until my wife told me to look in the bin. He had placed his bag ON TOP OF my backpack, smashing my bag down in the process! I was livid, I looked back and asked whose bag it was, and the guy unapologetically said it was his, then explained he had no room around him, as if he had no other choice. I told him there was no way it was going to stay on top of my bag, and he told me just to put my backpack on top of his then. I was not happy, and I should have just pulled his bag out and left it on the ground, but seeing how it was 9 pm and we were exhausted and about to fly 7 hours on a redeye to Denver, I let it go. I have no idea what kind of mentality you have to have to think it is okay to do something like that though. Fortunately the picture was not ruined, but it very well could have been.

z44212 August 26, 2022 - 8:47 pm

Don’t put anything fragile in the overhead bin. Ever. And if it fits under the seat, that’s where it goes.

Ray Sharradh August 31, 2022 - 7:53 am

While I agree with never placing fragiles in the overhead compartment, the space under the seat in front of me is for my feet, not my hand luggage. An inability to move one’s lower legs on a long flight is a scientifically proven risk factor for deep vein thrombosis. And not even considering DVT, I find it supremely uncomfortable not to be able to shift my lower legs, and I prefer not to stroll the aisles and becoming a nuisance for the in-flight crew and my fellow passengers.

Marie August 27, 2022 - 6:21 am

Human decency is So far gone. If you couldn’t get in the bag Without breaking the locks That should have told you something. But Not in This World.

travlinful August 30, 2022 - 3:01 pm

That’s why Briggs & Riley cases are the best. They would fix it for free no matter who broke it or how it was broken. B&R has had my biz for more than 30 years now.

Michael Martin August 30, 2022 - 3:52 pm

I’ve been seated in first class, and boarded early, but there were a few open seats when the coach passengers started boarding. Wouldn’t you know it, one or more coach passengers put their carry on in the first class overhead bins as the boarded. This meant when the other first class passengers boarded, they had no available overhead space. They were then forced to try and find space in the coach area. You know what happened when we reached our destination and they had to swim upstream to get their bags. People who do this are very inconsiderate, but they think that’s a hack they are quite comfortable using. Anyone else see this happening?

First Class Flyer August 30, 2022 - 5:04 pm

That is why (because I always fly in first class) when I see it done, I grab the bag, give it to a flight attendant and ask them to check it in baggage. When they return with the baggage claim, I calmly go to the loo and flush it down the toilet.

Herbert Stone August 30, 2022 - 4:23 pm

I share your concerns about bag placement. I contact the FA and let them deal with it, especially when flying international. Often the FA will get on the PA and announce a bag without a passenger which needs its owner or it will be removed from the flight. If the FA does nothing it says a lot about training.

Ray Sharradh August 31, 2022 - 7:48 am

On an somewhat unrelated note, I suggest placing your bag in the overhead bin ACROSS the aisle from your seat. In-flight rummaging theft happens, and placing it in the overhead across the aisle allows you to keep an eye on your bag in the event someone opens the overhead bin compartment door during your flight.


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